, 2022-09-19 13:56:00,
The mission team is aiming to begin the Artemis I cryogenic demonstration test at 7:15 a.m. ET on Wednesday, and NASA will share live coverage on its website. The Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft continue to sit on the launchpad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Since the second scrubbed launch attempt of the uncrewed Artemis I mission on September 3, engineers have replaced two seals on an interface for the liquid hydrogen fuel line between the rocket and mobile launcher, according to NASA officials. These seals were associated with a large hydrogen leak that led to the scrub of the launch attempt.
When engineers replaced the seal on an 8-inch (20-centeimeter) quick disconnect line for hydrogen, they found a “witness marker,” or indentation on the seal associated with foreign object debris, said Mike Sarafin, Artemis mission manager, at a Monday NASA press conference.
The team did not recover any piece of debris, but the dent was clear and pointed to a problem that contributed to the hydrogen leak, Sarafin said.
The indentation was under 0.01 inch (0.3 millimeter), but it allows pressurized gas to leak through, something that can be very dangerous given the flammability of hydrogen. The team believes the dent is associated with the leak, but the results of the test could confirm it.
On September 3, the large hydrogen leak was between two and three times the accepted limit, Sarafin said.
Testing ‘kinder’ procedures
The purpose of the cryogenic demonstration is to test the seals and use updated, “kinder and gentler” loading procedures of the supercold propellant, which is what the rocket would experience on launch day.
The Orion spacecraft and rocket boosters will remain unpowered during the test, and the team does not intend to go into terminal count, or the final 10 minutes that occur in the countdown before launch, said Jeremy Parsons, deputy manager for NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems Program at Kennedy Space Center.
The kinder and gentler loading procedure is to minimize pressure spikes and thermal spikes witnessed during prior launch attempts. To achieve this, the team will slowly bring up the pressure on the liquid hydrogen storage tank. The slower procedure…
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